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Toshiba Regza WL (40WL753B) review: Toshiba Regza WL (40WL753B)

The 40-inch, 1080p Toshiba Regza 40WL753B puts in a decent performance for an LED-backlit TV at such a competitive price. Alas, its Internet features are whack.

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Niall Magennis
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Niall Magennis

Reviewer

Niall has been writing about technology for over 10 years, working for the UK's most prestigious newspapers, magazines and websites in the process. What he doesn't know about TVs and laptops isn't worth worrying about. It's a little known fact that if you stacked all the TVs and laptops he has ever reviewed on top of each other, the pile would reach all the way to the moon and back four times.

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4 min read

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For a big-name manufacturer, Toshiba has arrived late to the LED-backlight party. But it's trying to make up ground by offering its LED-backlit TVs at very competitive prices. The 40-inch, 1080p Regza 40WL753B is a good example of this. It slots in near the top of Toshiba's current range of TVs, yet can be bought online for around £770.

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6.5

Toshiba Regza WL (40WL753B)

The Good

Strong, vibrant colours; deep black levels; good standard-definition upscaling.

The Bad

Pictures lack contrast; poor Internet features.

The Bottom Line

The 40-inch, 1080p Toshiba Regza 40WL753B puts in a decent performance for an LED-backlit TV at such a competitive price. Alas, its Internet features are whack.

Needs to eat more

With Toshiba's current TV line-up dominated by chunky sets that use traditional CCFL backlighting, the 40WL753B is waif-like in comparison. Its LED technology has allowed the company to slim this model down to just 50mm deep. That still makes the 40WL753B big-boned compared to some of LG and Samsung's LED models, but there's not a massive difference.

The 40WL753B also looks much sexier than some of Toshiba's mid–range models, thanks to its more contemporary look, with the glossy black bezel blending into a transparent strip around the edge of the TV.

As with most 40-inch sets, the 40WL753B has four HDMI ports. There's three on the rear and one on the side for easy access if the TV is wall-mounted. One of the HDMI sockets on the rear is a v1.4 port that includes an audio return channel for use with compatible external gear like surround-sound amps. There's also a set of component connectors, along with two Scart sockets, a VGA input and a composite connector.

Internet fail

The TV also has twin USB sockets for playing back digital media files and an Ethernet jack that can be used to access the Internet. The only Web service currently on offer is YouTube, though, and it hasn't been implemented well. Every time we tried to access it, it threw up a load of JavaScript errors and failed to load the video thumbnails.

The electronic programme guide looks crisp and is quickly navigated.

Media streaming is similarly restrictive. The set only works with PCs running Windows 7 and, although you can use it to stream videos, photos and music, the range of supported formats is quite limited. For example, it only supports streaming of MPEG-2 videos, so you can't use it to watch DivX or MKV files.

The 40WL753B is pretty straightforward to set up, but the menu system looks quite dated, especially next to the colourful graphics that you get on current LG TVs. What the 40WL753B lacks in presentation finesse, however, it largely makes up for in the range of picture-tweaking options on offer. It includes a full colour-management system that gives you comprehensive control of settings like colour gamma, hue and saturation.

The electronic programme guides on some recent Toshiba models have left much to be desired, but the 40WL753B's is a more competent affair. It has a standard, horizontal, bricks-in-the-wall-style layout, but its graphics are crisp and navigating around it is a reasonably fast experience.

The TV has a Freeview HD tuner, so you'll find the hi-def services from the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 nestled alongside the standard-definition channels in the EPG. Unfortunately, the TV is slow to change channels, and it's annoying that, when you hit the 'info' button, the resulting screen completely obscures the programme you're currently watching.

Sharp as a tack

As with many TVs that are equipped with Toshiba's Resolution+ technology, the 40WL753B does a good job of dealing with standard-definition material via the Freeview tuner. The Resolution+ system manages to upscale even the more compressed Freeview channels, sharpening them up without adding too much extra noise.

Naturally, HD material received via either the on-board Freeview HD tuner or a Blu-ray player looks even better, with images displaying impressive levels of sharpness. The LED backlight also helps the 40WL753B's colours to look richer and more vibrant than they do on Toshiba's CCFL models. Thankfully, colours retain a natural hue, rather than looking over-saturated.

Although the set's black levels are impressively deep, the backlighting isn't quite as uniform as we'd have liked, with areas of slight blotchiness visible here and there during darker scenes. The TV's also not as good at teasing out fine shadow detail as some of its rivals, due largely to its middling contrast performance.

Viewing angles aren't as wide as they could be either, so those who find themselves sitting at an angle to the TV will notice some colour variation. On the plus side, the TV's 200Hz processing does help to deliver smooth motion in faster panning shots.

These slimmer LED sets rarely score all that well in the sonic department and the 40WL753B is no exception. Its audio performance is pretty average and its lack of bass means it doesn't have much in the way of low-end punch. There's a subwoofer output on the rear, though. You can make use of that if you want to beef up the audio without investing in a whole surround-sound set-up.

Conclusion

The Toshiba Regza 40WL753B puts in a decent performance for an LED set in this price bracket. Its Resolution+ system does an impressive job of upscaling standard-definition pictures from the Freeview tuner too. Its pictures don't have as much contrast as we'd have liked, though, and it's well behind its rivals when it comes to Internet features.

Edited by Charles Kloet